Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of the use of topical 10% potassium hydroxide solution in the treatment of molluscum contagiosum.

Research paper by Katherine A KA Short, L Claire LC Fuller, Elisabeth M EM Higgins

Indexed on: 20 Jun '06Published on: 20 Jun '06Published in: Pediatric Dermatology


Molluscum contagiosum is a common viral infection of the skin that frequently affects children. Lesions take between 6 and 18 months to resolve spontaneously and are a source of great embarrassment to both caretakers and children, often affecting attendance at school and limiting social activity. Treatment options to date have been poorly tolerated by children but recent studies have suggested that potassium hydroxide may be beneficial. This double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study compared 10% potassium hydroxide with placebo (normal saline). Twenty patients, aged 2 to 12 years, were recruited. Parents applied a solution twice daily to lesional skin until signs of inflammation appeared. Children were examined by the same observer on days 0, 15, 30, 60, and 90. Seventy percent of children receiving topical potassium hydroxide cleared, compared with 20% in the placebo group. Further dosing studies are required to identify whether weaker concentrations of potassium hydroxide are as efficacious, with less irritancy.